On Veganism as a diet/using the health aspects of a plant-based diet to educate people about Veganism:
Veganism is a moral stance against human animals intentionally using nonhuman animals for our interests, not a diet. although there are powerful health-related and environmental incidental benefits to consuming a plants-only diet, that is exactly what they are: incidental benefits. Not the basis for Veganism. I don’t agree with telling people that Veganism is a diet or a health plan, because it not only confuses people as to the truth about what Veganism actually is, but it shoves the nonhuman victims of our exploitative actions once again to the back or the line in regards to who we have moral consideration for.
I don’t agree with trying to use human health or the environment as the driving forced behind decreasing the exploitation of animals by arguing that Veganism is based on anthropocentric concerns. I do agree with using the moral aspect of Veganism as the driver behind decreasing animal exploitation. I don’t agree with volunteering information about a plants-only diet to pre-Vegans when discussing Veganism. I do agree with telling people about the health aspects of Veganism if they bring that subject up and we explicitly tie that into the conversation about the moral aspects of Veganism. I don’t agree with telling them that a plants-only diet is more healthy than a non-Vegan diet unless they make the opposite claim. I do agree with telling them that there is nothing at all unhealthy about a plants-only diet and showing them that the scientific evidence is unanimous on this. Basically I am in favor of waiting until any claim is made by the pre-Vegan about diets to then reservedly discuss the evidence for plants and health.
When we educate on Veganism and Animal Rights we have an obligation to be precise and clear with our advocacy. We need to make the distinction whenever and wherever it’s needed that Veganism is about animal rights, health is about health, and environmentalism is about the environment, but when we educate on any aspect of diet or the environment we can also tie it to whatever aspect of animal rights it relates to, without muddying the waters of educating about Veganism, by giving an explicit explanation of the issue in question which makes all the relevant distinctions.
I don’t agree with engaging in SICs (Single Issue Campaigns) but using the idea that people can start by eliminating animal substances from their diet as a way to transition to Veganism is not an SIC. 99.99% or more of animal exploitation is for “food.” Once you learn why it’s morally wrong to consume an animal’s flesh and secretions in your diet, you begin to understand why you can’t then keep exploiting them in all the other ways that we do.
I don’t agree with Vegans telling pre-Vegans that they should go vegetarian, engage in “Meatless Mondays”, baby steps or any other half-measures. I don’t agree with praising people for promoting those things. I do agree with praising people for reducing the amount of animal substances in their diet and other decreases in consumption, but I also believe we should never fail to take the opportunity to gently explain to them why a mere decrease in consumption is not the end goal, and thus why they need to go all the way immediately.
For some more clear thinking on this issue please read Professor Gary Francione’s essay here:
If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s easy and great for you, incredible for the animals, and wonderful for the planet. If you’re already Vegan, please educate non-Vegans about why they should go Vegan. Please rescue, volunteer, adopt, foster, spay, and neuter the nonhuman refugees of domestication whenever you can. Please feed your nonhuman family Vegan where you can. These things are the most important, morally responsible things to do and are desperately needed by everyone.
To learn more about Abolitionist Veganism and the issues I’ve outlined in this post, check out The Master List Of Vegan Info:
Disclaimer: My only goal with this list is to produce as comprehensive a resource for Vegan information as possible. I am 100% Abolitionist Vegan and 100% against exploitation of nonhuman or human animals, any type of violence against human or nonhuman persons or property, welfare regulation, any form of speciesism, ethnic bigotry, genderism, ableism, heterosexism, etc., any of the large governmental or non-governmental nonhuman animal organizations, “happy meat,” vegetarianism, veg*nism, Meat-Free Mondays, or other forms of reductionism and anything else that makes it seem like any form of violence or exploitation of animals is ok. If any of those positions are endorsed on any site in this list, or any language is used to imply that, it’s not that I included that link because I agree, but simply because I don’t control every bit of information on all of these sites.